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Meet our President: Gabrial Babella

Gabrial Babella (G), President of the Assyrian Youth Federation of America, was interviewed by AYFA's Western Regional Director Ramsin Youkana (R) about his experience and personal interests. Read the full interview below!

R: Tell us a little bit about yourself

G: I was born November 3rd, 1989 (80’s baby!) in Chicago and moved to Arizona in 2011. I have been involved since I was 16 when I joined the Assyrian Chaldean Student Movement (half of my life now). I met my wife during a youth exchange between ASA of AZ and AJM. I enjoy playing drums and percussions in my spare time.

R: What is your position on the AYFA board, how long have you served on that position, and what do you do in that position in AYFA?

G: I’m currently serving my 2nd term as President which is my 4th year in the position. As President, I oversee the Federation and assist my board with achieving the goals they set out for themselves.

R: What made you decide to co-establish AYFA?

G: It was more a long term goal I have always had since I started my involvement within the community working with local youth organizations. It has always been my interest to build bridges across the globe nationally/internationally and strengthening our Assyrian global network.

R: What other organizations are you a member of?

G: I am currently also serving as the Vice President of the World Assembly of Assyrian Youth (WAAY), which is the umbrella of youth organizations that AYFA is a member of. I am also serving as a board member of the Assyrian American Cultural Organization of Arizona (AACO) which is an affiliate of the Assyrian American National Federation (AANF).

R: What inspired you to be a part of these organizations?

G: I feel these organizations allow me to make the biggest impact within our community whether it is focused on youth or the local community where I live.

R: What’s your favorite memory serving as President of AYFA?

G: It’s hard to choose just one, but I think I would go with AYFA’s inaugural meeting, back in 2018. It was a lot of hard work and many years of planning to make it to our goal. To see a room filled with likeminded young Assyrians from all over the States with the same vision and the willingness to unite under a Federation and work towards the progress of our nation. Also, to have our international partners in attendance showing their support of the establishment of AYFA. It was a feeling that’s hard to describe.

R: Finally, any words of advice for young Assyrians out there?

G: Never get discouraged. Throughout my years being involved, there have been so many different situations that could discourage an activist and force them to give up their involvement. Focus on the goal and the purpose of why we volunteer and put in the time to preserve our identity. Take those situations as a lesson and work with your team to overcome those obstacles. It makes it that much more rewarding when you’re able to look back on what you accomplished despite those obstacles.

Blog Post prepared by Ramsin Youkana

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